Spread a little sunshine

A wise bloke once told me to keep my charities secret and stupidity published. I concur. It makes sense, on most days. Call it CSR, call it a charity drive, call it what ever you may, I choose to call it a satisfaction of spreading smiles.

I don’t think I have a bone that’s dedicated to an Altruistic cause. I don’t spend time wondering about it. I pick dates and make choices. It started with my mom’s birthday. One morning I decided to help a cause to celebrate that day. It felt good. Actually, it didn’t feel any different from normal mundane existence between Monday to Sunday. I did it nonetheless. Then I’ve been doing it for a few years now.

Then I decided to spread smiles around for my birthday. I figured that the world has had enough crying over spilt milk. 34 years of existence later, there is very little that the world can do to alter that outcome. I’m here. One way or the other. So I added that date to the cause of spreading smiles. Then added Diwali to the list. Odd enough, I don’t do anything special for my dad’s birthday. I get him a watch. Then I get him a pen. Then I get him a lame T-shirt and he pretends that he enjoys getting them 🙂

It all dawned on me this morning. I had set up a meeting and was later told that I had set one up on the Diwali day. The day of lights and I had intended to turn it off for poor blokes. I apologized for my ignorance of the date. I also realized that it was the time to pass a few smiles across again.

So the wise bloke did tell me to not flaunt my good deeds. I still respect that. This is more of a challenge. I remember running one last year too. I challenge you to put a smile on a stranger’s life. Go ahead, brighten up the world around you. I’d like the sense of playing a teeny tiny insignificant superhero. It doesn’t enrich my life with purpose. It doesn’t make me feel great about myself. It doesn’t magically transform my life.

It does offer me a sense of satisfaction. The satisfaction that I could help someone forget about the bum chances and lousy cards that their life might have dealt them with. Cheating the sourness that life can provide, even it only lasts a minute, is a good victory that I’m proud of.

I don’t believe in appealing. I don’t like to appeal to the sensibilities in people. It’s not my place to promote or advice. I challenge you. That’s in line to my way of life.

A brand new day, a wonderful colourful festival of lights and laughter. I challenge you to add more decibels to that laughter.

On that note, Spread a little sunshine, darling. It’s the world’s way of telling you that you are capable of spreading that sunshine.

Karthik

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The many worlds

There is nothing like waking up early on a Sunday morning and loitering the streets for a hot cup of coffee to offset a cold morning.

The Sunday was packed with surprises. The morning mist looming over the head, the lazy land that refused to open shops early on, police cordoning a few sections across the street, detectives running around in a frantic sense of timed urgency, and I couldn’t shake off the feeling of ‘What am I doing with life, on a given Sunday’. I shrugged my shoulders and knew a Greggs by the high street would be open. I found my way to the shop, picked up a piping hot cup of coffee. Took a careful sip, expressed an immediate regret for having my coffee in the shop. I generously thrashed the cup and decided to head back home defeated.

Before I could walk back home, I was curious as curious could be. I approached the PC and asked him what the fuss was about. Stiff upper lip and I’m afraid I cant tell you what it’s all about sir later , I made it back home. While I didn’t let the event do a number in my mind, I let the day sink in and had managed to entertain a few thoughts.

The Saturday was fun. I managed to catch a show of the Blade Runner. Nice flick, a lot of thoughts on humanity and what it means to be human, a well deserved , much needed slip into sleep, I woke up from the movie quite refreshed. The thoughts on the central themes of the movie were still stirring in my mind somewhere. It fuelled the muse , that the Sunday was.

We share a common world. One to be exact. Our view of this world, it changes with time. This view changes across different people. Each of us, we paint a transient picture of the world which changes as we change in time. There are days when we see the world green. It’s filled with optimism and hope. There are days when we succumb to our challenges, we see a gloomy world. Another factor is time itself. Our view of the world was very different when we were kids. We had fewer things to fear, lesser things to worry about, ignorance was a wonderful way of life. As we grew older, our intelligence shaped up our world.

it’s a big battle that we wage everyday. To wake up to realities around us, to muster that courage to nurture our timid faith, to time and again bestow hope and endure it’s many distinguished crushes, and still believe that there is a beautiful world around us, is a battle indeed. It, at times, is a huge ask to call for every ounce of courage to want to believe in the goodness of the world around.

As the day aged, the sun came out to play. The temptation to enjoy a walk was too hard to resist. As I walked , directionless and aimless, I couldn’t help but notice this little kid. He held his dad’s finger securely and they both seemed to be engaged in a rather long conversation about the future and the pleasant surprises that it held for them. Cops in the morning, innocence in the evening, events seemed to balance themselves out perfectly. While Hollywood reaps the benefits of making a movie that throws far too many questions on humanity, while a lot of us manage to have an open mind and embark on a journey of self discovery, while a lot many of us are happy to coast through the day, run the rat race, earn that money through the week and spend a little on life over the weekend, the inevitable is hidden in plain sight.

It is inevitable that we share our world with people. We share this world with peers, with blokes both old and young. We inherit this world from the folks who have endured similar battles. We would hand this world over to kids who would , in turn when their time comes, fight similar battles and ask similar questions. For what it is worth, this world of ours is actually a lot of worlds. It’s an amalgamation of all our thoughts and views. It often will be what we want it to be.

All of this brings us to a sinister thought. If the world exists as a product of our minds and eyes, how much real is really real?

Karthik

In hot pursuit

I have a burning suspicion that the blog that will follow , might end up being a rant. I’ll take my chances. Unfortunately, you’d have to take yours too.

There are two things, make it three. There are three things that influenced the thought in my head.

1. The book called The hundred year old man….

2. Each time we try to question something that doesn’t make sense, the first immediate repercussion is that we are asked if we are perfect. Our credibility is put to the test. We often fail that yardstick.

3. The status quo that is flawed.

Like many things that require a proper chronology of events to make better sense, we shall also attempt to start at the beginning. Dating back to the Genesis, and I’m not kidding, well maybe not as far back as the genesis. There is a chapter in the bible about casting stones. The ask is rather simple, those who have not sinned, are free to cast the stone.

While I haven’t read The Book, and in all possibility, I might never any books on that league, the context is fairly simple. Judge others only after judging your own self. Point your eyes within, fingers towards you and blah di blah

That now covered. It’s not uncommon that each time there is a dispute, a disagreement of opinion and ideology, the instigator is often challenged on their credibility to pass that judgement. We are interested in digging the dirt that is the life of others. In fact, we look for sinless, guiltless, near infant like innocence in people to even accept their point of view. In a twisted sense of convenience, this does align to the first point as well. Be perfect yourself before you go yodelling about the imperfections in others.

Fair enough.

Now comes the kicker. I think that status quo is flawed. I have my reasons on that conclusion.

The simplest reason of them all is the fact that this is not a perfect world. Therefore , by implication, I’d never be perfect enough to start pointing the pointlessness of the views of the world around me. Since nobody is perfect and vetted off as whiter than white, it makes perfect sense for anyone to challenge anything.

It could be argued that a fool would be incapable of understanding the nuances of Calculus. That renders the debate moot. Yup, absolutely. That also warrants that there should be a criteria tagged to the participants to facilitate a level playing field. Education can be one. Money can be one. Common sense can be one. Common sense is a free commodity and rest cost money. Unfortunately, common sense loses every time.

Pragmatically speaking, the relative chance of arguments that spring from arguers who are equals , is quite slim. It’s never been an apples to apples comparison. That being the case, the expectation of perfection is a mirage that we tend to fixate on. It doesn’t really exist. The quickest example is around the recent days in Twitter where an actor challenged a said list of Politicians and the backlash was, who does the actor think he is?

The point of contention has never been around who incites doubts. The problem has always been how far one go to defend one’s stance. When you make a wrong choice, arguments fly sky high. It’s human to hide behind excuses and throw in tangent to distract everyone from things that make sense. We’ve seen it a lot of times.

When arguments get personal, it usually means that the arguing parties have run out of sensible things to debate about.

We are sitting on a misguided ideology that for us to question the things around us, we need to be perfect, we need to elevate ourselves that we can’t be questioned, we need to inspire and set a shining example that our views would not get thrashed. It’s a nice thing to aspire for. It just takes forever to reach that state.

When you try to cut noise and focus on what works and what doesn’t, it doesn’t take a chemical engineer to point out that your car wont move an inch because it’s out of gas.

There is a lesson in all of those words somewhere. Simple lessons like I happiness is something that’s not achieved if and only if I cross over a certain defined milestone. Happiness is the most easily available abundant commodity that we all refuse to take because we are so finicky about how we define happiness to be. We judge ourselves way too hard. We set impossible expectations and struggle to meet it.

All that said, there is a difference between fighting for what is right and WHO is right. When we are in hot pursuit of what is right for us, we usually don’t have the time to pamper the whos around it.

On that note, Enjoy a wonderful weekend.

Karthik

Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be

” Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be. “ Allan Karlsson from The hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared.

While this is not a review of the book, the spirit of that quote was ample enough to inspire me to wing a few thoughts about it. I, for one, am conflicted about the deal of ‘Going with the flow’. To me, that approach is a little too free fall for comfort. While I’m not obsessive or compulsive about making plans and sticking to every single line item, I do find it a bit odd to completely ignore even the faintest remotest idea of a plan. I find assurance in knowing that there is a plan. What the plan stands to cover is immaterial.

Given the nature of the book and that it’s a fantastic fabulous work of fiction, I do acknowledge that in the realms of fiction, everything is possible. Real life poses certain challenges that a fictional life doesn’t have to deal with. With revered humility, I acknowledge that real life does have a capacity to throw a few curve balls that we are usually not well prepared to resolve. It’s that grasp of reality often pushes us to succumb to the flow of things and let things take their own course. In an act of part desperation and part faith, we let ourselves be willed by the way of the universe.

All of that sounds fine and dandy and that’s precisely why I can’t stomach that isolation of accountability towards life.

Given the context of the book, given the context of the movie ‘Forrest Gump’, given the context of life’s many adventures and experiences that we gather, there is a simple, subtle fact that stays hidden and yet possesses the magical charm to alter the course of one’s destiny. The underlying, undermined secret is one’s capacity to adjust and adapt to the changing course of things and steer ahead.

Yup. That’s the key. The ability to adapt to changes of varying magnitude. That ability doesn’t fall from the sky. It’s a reflection of skills possessed, strengths played to, limitations mitigated and a certain degree of faith on oneself. Give these, going with the flow does make a lot of sense. When we are better placed to deal with open challenges, the other limiting factor is in the form of how we choose to restrict ourselves because of our biases. Having an open mind helps. It’s a sign of being ready to deal with the unknowns. By unrestricting the things that we can do, we do end up doing a lot more than we initially thought we could.

That conquest of fear is wonderfully explored in the quote. ‘Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be’

Contrary to popular belief, going with the flow is not synonymous with not being ready to take on life’s many curve balls. It means having an outlook to take those curve balls and whack em up plenty. I’d like to believe that it is this spirit to life that enriches by giving us the varied experiences that go on to construct the story of our lives.

Go with the flow. It’s a bit different than drifting away helplessly.

Karthik

The white knight

The morning felt the same. Well almost. The bright Holland Orange coloured T-Shirt that I picked for the gym did wonders. It was quite a workout. I head back home and slept away like a baby. The morning new and not so bright, the coffee new and not so sweet, it was a morning like most mornings have been.

Well almost.

I saw her. The beauty in white. For a few years now, three to be exact, I’ve been thinking about her. A white color Kawasaki Ninja motorbike.

White Ninja Motorbike

She zoomed past me today. I gawked at it for as long as I could and found myself narrating the desire to own a sports bike for a change. I’ve never really fancied a sports bike. I’ve always enjoyed metal. At one point in time , I did own a bullet bike. That was the best years of my life. I had to sell her off. That being said, a sports bike was something that my heart had never really longed for. That soon changed.

A few years ago, my friend picked up the usual Green one. I remember hopping showrooms with him. He had fallen in love with the green bike and I had rested my eyes over the white one. White motorcycle and black leather. I enjoyed imagining myself own that. I don’t think I’ve ever been a speed demon, but I could see myself indulge in a bit of a road rage. I did like that very much back then.

All the memories of wanting to buy a bike came rushing back in , this morning. I wanted a bike, I had picked up a comfy car instead. It’s not the same. The two things mean very different things. Being a biker is a choice of a life that has a sense of adventure to it. Really comfortable plush leather seats of my car is a choice that I enjoyed the road, the music the moon through the moon roof. My lifestyle had hit a fork on the road. I guess I had already made my choice.

And so, my friend asked me if I had plans of heading home and buying that motorcycle. Sure, It made sense. I’ve always yapped about a life without regrets. I’ve always believed in doing things that I wanted to do, without offending my brain with reason and logic. I knew what my response was going to be. It had not changed in years now.

Naah, It’s probably a midlife crisis thing. I won’t end up buying it.

And in silence I contemplated the joys of riding the bike.

The term midlife crisis wouldn’t die away without putting up a fight. My curiosity had gotten the better of me and I felt absolutely compelled to read a little more about it. My take on the matter was rather primitive. I thought when folks got bored of their lives, bada bing, we have someone who is cruising through a midlife crisis. To me it felt like a lifetime spent without a sense of excitement and adventure and hence that push to do something drastic to jumpstart that said life.

A wiki gyan later, I’m at extreme loss of words.

The near expert view of the term centres around

1. Work

2. Relationships

3. Wards

4. Growing old

5. The big anxiety about death.

All of those, some of those, often result in various forms of regret and resentment over the life lived. I didn’t expect that view. I still can’t put my head around it. It’s usually not the case where one wakes up on a fine Monday morning and realizes the gaps which are now as wide as they can be. A midlife crisis can’t be something that would/could come as a surprise. To me , I think it’s an inevitable eventuality. One would have to choose to ignore the problems, discount the visible symptoms and live in denial for the longest while till things get a little too overwhelming to ignore any further.

The contention seems to be around how one views oneself. Inequality is a great level playing field. Everybody has something that they don’t have. Comparing ourselves with all our limitations with others doesn’t really sound like a great plan!

From day dreaming about riding a white motor cycle to running rampant with questions on why we doubt ourselves and undermine ourselves, I need some coffee to jump start the day.

While the bike might not be the one for an immediate grab, the Orange shirt was good enough to keep me jumping with excitement. I think that’s what dealing with crisis is all about. It’s not a massive battle once we reach a certain age. It’s the daily struggle to want to have a life, of wanting to have a career, of wanting to make relationships work, of feeling better about ourselves, of a commitment to stay in shape and fit.

Everything in that list of 5 is inevitable. Nobody can give it the slip. We are bound to collide with it at some point or the other.

Karthik

Of skepticism and superstitions

If I had a black and a white outlook towards life, scepticism and superstition would align themselves at the polar ends of the spectrum. Fortunately, I enjoy the simple pleasures of dwelling in the land of grey. The fine line that separates my identity as a skeptic and my unshakable faith in superstition can very well be termed as hypocrisy. I’m happy with that label. And so I think I’m a hypocrite. I selectively debunk superstitions and selectively protect that belief with all my heart.

What started all of this ?

‘Bite your tongue’ , is a phrase one uses to flag a certain disapproval of things said. Nobody tells me that. My mom does tell me other things. Things like when you bite your lips , accidentally a few times in quick succession, it means there is someone who is venting out their anger and disgust for you eloquently.

I’ve had my tryst with my mom’s wisdom quite a number of times. The recent of the lot, it was a Saturday when I nearly ripped off my lip. It started abruptly and a week later, it ended as abruptly as it started. It was a week where I think I was being screamed at. Arguably, by virtue of being just myself, I think I feel a certain comfort in staying entitled that at time of the day, there is someone who has me living in their head. There is a guilty sinful pleasure there. I enjoy the fact that I’m worthy enough to occupy someone’s mind and inspire a degree of pristine hate and disgust in them. It’s a living!

This time around, I had my suspects. The timelines made sense. Coincidence was at it’s dramatic best. The week done, my lips are now safe. I don’t bite into them now. The phase of violence is now over.

I’m also a skeptic. I remember the first time I was made aware of that scepticism. It was in Liverpool, Peter and I were by the Mersey and we were talking about humanity. He believed, still believes in the goodness of the species. I didn’t back then. It was a stark realization of how bitter and resentful my experiences had made me. I had found it easier to distrust the goodness in us. I had found it easy to succumb to the simplicity of the impending doom that awaited us all.

That was me, being a skeptic. I also do enjoy the curiosity that drives me. I’m a cat on the wall when it comes to most belief systems. I rarely pick a side. When I do, I usually vet things by subjecting them to a test of time, a test of people, a test of context and circumstances. Once the faith stands tall post that scrutiny, I’m rather quick in adopting it. I usually never look back. It’s the curiosity and my reluctance to pick sides that has left me challenging the status quo.

I’m a bit superstitious. I still don’t bother trimming nails after sunset. I’d not visit a temple without showering. I’d not visit anybody’s house empty handed. I think the world is made of vibes and there are vibes that are positive and there those which I infer as being negative. The extent of my indulgence of superstitions stop there.

The other side of the tale, I’m skeptic about the eclipse or how one shouldn’t dine during the eclipse. I don’t mind dangling the key chain after dark. I have no qualms about having a conversation with my god. I’m not into dogmatic procedures that most would ardently adhere to. I enjoy my non-compliance. I love to annoy my mom.

I reckon the state of staying a skeptic or superstitious is very much a personal choice. It’s a life choice. It’s a life style. Like most similar choices, trouble brews when we try to force these opinions/faiths/belief systems onto others. For example, I am a bit old fashioned and yet I’m intolerant towards folks who expect a conservative outlook towards life. After quite a few many clashes of ideology, I am a bit jaded from voicing out opinions. Live and let live seems to be a wonderful means to a peaceful existence. Of course, not the world’s peace. Just mine and mine alone.

It is funny, the way we are. We find it easy to believe a heaven that is filled with angels, we find it easy to believe a hell that’s crowded with demons. Yet we find it hard to place trust on people who walk amongst us. By virtue, we find it easier to believe comfortable and convenient unknowns and yet choose to fear the ones that we are unsure about. Irony walks with us.

I don’t think I’m alone here. Many of us do share that enthusiasm for debunking myths. Many of us have our peeves for superstition. A lot of us are chained to our obsessive repetitive routines. So what do you believe in? What do you voice against?

Karthik

Foothills of solitude

solitude

 

I couldn’t go on this way. I felt unable to think or act. I struggled to reconcile a choice. A choice that I’ve been putting of for months now. I let my true self down. I defeated my instincts and pretended to go against the grain. In the name of keeping low expectations, I knew I had wandered away from things that kept me complete.

 

In my hour of struggle, I tried to calm myself down. It is a little strange that I didn’t perceive it as an act of desperation. It felt like the thing to do. I closed my eyes and decided to give myself a shot. I feel lost. I feel like an imposter. Have I pretended for far too long? I can’t wake myself up and decide to call all of this my world of make believe. I can’t turn the clock back and opt to ‘unbelieve’ the things I’ve accepted into my belief system. In that regard, I feel like an imposter. An imposter who started to fit into a role and was left behind filling into that role even after the last of the curtains fell down.

 

I decided to calm myself down and closed my eyes. Of the blue, I tagged states of emotions to ground with the earth. My fears , symbolized by my root. My desires, by my sacral. My expectations , by my solar plexus. My wishes, by my heart. My ego, by my throat. My dreams , by my third eye. Finally this self, by my crown. One by one, I tried to move the energies to the ground. The trace of light falling on my closed eyes seemed to fade away. I felt engulfed in darkness.

 

This felt contrastingly different. I usually associate dark to the energies and when I try to ground them, I remind myself that I’m refilling myself with light. This time around, the tables were turned. This felt comfortable. This felt right. With the distractions and clutter moving away, the illusion of light seemed to dissipate.

 

Protected in a bubble of white light, I felt secure again. It showed. It felt safe. The thoughts , now called out, there was finally a distinct lack of noise within. It was in this silence where I first observed the pulse of the body. It was disharmonious. It felt like the different parts of the body were vibrating in their own distinct course. It felt like a concert where none of the instruments were in tune or followed a rhythm. I decided to focus on my breathing in hopes of finding a balance.

 

Om Namah, I’d breath in and hold. Shiva ya, I’d breathe out. I didn’t keep track of the changes. I felt an order restored. There felt a balance. The vibrations were now in tune. To what? That I do not know.

 

As I focused on my breathing, in and out, I felt as a fetus; all alone in a vast span. I could arrive at the mistake of calling it as a fetus , all alone in a vast land. While I could perceive it as a desert, I was also sure that it wasn’t one. It was neither barren, nor it felt lush. I couldn’t identify it as a land, or a place. Vast span.

 

I felt the minuscule nature of the fetus that I was when compared to the vastness. I neither felt insignificant nor intimidated by the smallness. It was a moment of acknowledgement. Acknowledgement of what? That I do not know.

 

The feeling remained unshakeable. I opened my eyes after a while. Staying curious, I lingered to see if there was a meaning to it all. I couldn’t articulate the thoughts right into google. I didn’t know what to find. I didn’t know what I was looking for. I stumbled upon a gist on Vipassana. The name, not a coincidence. It was only last week where a colleague of mine spoke to me about it. It spoke of solitude. Not of the body, but of the mind.

 

If there is a sense to my delusion, maybe it’s about the right time to start trying to understand the nature of that solitude. It’s not about being alone or lonely. The solitary mind is at ease, because it’s unaffected – a line from the article.

 

Maybe I got to learn something. Maybe I got lucky. Maybe there is always ample time for all the lessons waiting to be learnt.

 

Karthik

Pinned Perspectives Polarises Providence

The word on the streets is that the title is a convoluted alliteration at play. Guilty as charged. I did invest a little time and effort into it so that it feeds into the theme of the words that would follow.

There are a few factors to consider before the blog starts to make sense. I’d love to revel under the implicit illusion that my posts don’t have to necessarily make sense, however, throwing in a word of caution is a sneaky attempt at a weak shot of redemption. The disclaimer claimed, lets skidaddle to the factors that I had called out.

The first on the list is the Netflix movie ‘Death note’ . The anime was a million times better a packaged product that met it’s audience with philosophies of what is right and wrong, by what extent the means justifies an end. While I personally felt cheated by the Netflix movie, I sat satisfied by reflecting on the themes of the anime.

First factor : The personal moral compass versus The Society’s moral compass.

The second on the list is the book that I’m reading. It’s titled, ‘ His bloody project’. It’s a memoir of a murderer. I’m still reading the book so I’ll not jump to conclusions about it. The introduction establishes the simple fact that perpetrator takes ownership of his actions, of cold blooded murder, while the society around feels perplexed by the honesty and determination with which the murder takes responsibility of the crime.

The second factor : The interpretation of what is right and what is wrong.

The third on the list is along the lines of perception bias. It’s the ability expressed by individuals where they stay blind to the realities perceived by the world, because they are satisfied with the realities of their own making. This renders the individuals defenceless against forming an objective perception about the world around. People are wicked to us, because we see them that way. People are special to us, be cause we see them that way. If , at all, there was a place for an absolute true north for a Truth, people would be scattered across the spectrum of wicked and special. Our worlds change , when we learn to change how we view the world.

The third factor : The fault in our eyes.

The three things which intertwined in my head, I also happened to mull my thoughts over the very first framework of a law. When I say the very first, I mean the very first according to the tribunals of Hollywood. The Ten Commandments could take the precedence of being the first ever written record of a framework of law by which people felt compelled to lead their lives in obedient compliance.

While the status of the ten commandments is irrelevant to the cause, feel free to swap any written framework to mark as a point of reference. As long as we have a fixed , documented point of reference, the context of the blog continues to hold well. In fact, strike that, as long as there is a fixed point of reference, documented or verbally expressed, the context of the blog continues to hold well.

Here comes the kicker. While the framework is a simple set of do it and don’t do what Homer Simpson wont do, the fact that it’s written down is also a reason that the very words are subjected to interpretation. If someone heard it, translated it, scribed it, it also presents the opportunity for erros in translation because we are tuned to hear what we’d like to hear, see what we’d like to see and express what we feel like expressing. The framework, is subjected to context. Given the context of how life was, at some point in time, the framework made sense. The ten commandments does not talk about thou shall not steal thy neighbour’s broadband password.

So comes the real question. The very fact that we have lawyers, whose only job is to interpret the law; twist it turn it to meet a purpose; translate a law to meet the current context ; and reduce the arbitration of the law to a simple debate of words to appeal to a jury, now that’s far away from law being fair and just and absolute. In short, no man is guilty of a crime, just guilty of hiring an incompetent lawyer (derived from Shawshank Redemption)

What is right, what is right by me, what is right by the society and hoping that there is no conflict of interest between what serves me and serves the community, right and wrong is a mere product of convenience. Right and wrong , they both become a product of context and do not synonymize with an absolute truth. Which brings me to the point of such an ‘Absolute truth’. Is there such a thing. There are facts, there are interpretation of the facts. Truth does not feature under the purview of facts. Either the facts hold well, or they don’t.

With Friday around the corner, I couldn’t help but wonder about the pinned perspectives that polarises our providence. We pamper the illusion of fair and unfairness that surrounds us. I couldn’t help but feel amused about my context in the whole wide world. I’m a devil to many, an angel to some , a pain to all, but aren’t all of those perceptions to deal with? In fact the whole point of I AM, is a perception of the self that is governed by conditioning, knowledge and ability to call out contextual adjectives to strengthen a narrative.

On that note, What kind of a reality is really real anyways? Go Figure. The easiest way around such questions is to ‘Go with the flow’ or as I call it, ‘Ride happy along the ignorance train’.

Karthik

Eyes out : A rear window story

Rear window is a brilliant movie. It’s a fantastic tale of a broken leg, binoculars, rear window, deceit , murder. It’s a movie that screams of the advantage of an voyeuristic outlook to life. The movie made in 1954 did not have the foresight to imagine how it’s theme would go on to shape the world in the decades to come.

Lets take a deep breath and acknowledge the fact that we are an voyeurism obsessed society. With most notifications that I get , which usually are spying on the lives of others, I view them as an irritant rather than a fodder to my curious eyes. Linked and face book have always been excited in keeping me informed on whom my friends connect with. Goodreads does that and also keeps me posted on what my friends are reading and what their friends are reading as well.

As the wings of this social voyeurism spreads, the social media also wages a battle of privacy to bridge that gap. It is a cycle of sorts that results in stagnation. The social media thrives on reducing the degrees of separation between people. The relaxed privacy norms facilitates that random connection across people. This relaxed nature also leaves us exposed to insidious minds and sinister intents. A quick tweak of privacy to keep ourselves protected also results in a bottleneck of people that we find ourselves connected to. The net result is a mind numbing number of avenues where we get to connect with the same set of people that we are surrounded by.

While that stagnation doesn’t really matter to us much, after all we enjoy the company of our friends and why would we worry about having a lot more of them a lot more of the time all the time? Narrow vision , for starters. There is a reason why we connect with people. Either they think the same as us, or they are equally crazy. When there is a hive of like minded people, the existing biases get fortified. When we connect with crazy minds, there is too much crazy with little ventilation. That leads to saturation. So the obvious conclusion is that we are stuck with the same set of predictable opinions and thoughts, which get fed to us every single day.

How does this feed back into the voyeurism ?

Oh that’s rather simple.. We share and share unceremoniously. The hive does rob us of the simpler ability to realize the dependence or the risks of opening our minds to a world that is far away from being moderated. This leaves us with a weak outlook towards fencing our mind. With minds exposed, exposed to the same old same old every day, it feeds back into the stagnation that I spoke about. The closed claustrophobic circle , the daily feeds of tiny details of life , they all feed our hunger for voyeurism. We get exposed to the lives of others, we expose our lives.

Does such a lifestyle come with a price?

One word. Hollow. The lifestyle does leave us hollow. We are already leading a life as an advert to events that unfold around us. We advertise our lives for likes and amusement of our world. We crave the attention and there are times when that attention span means the most to us. Substitute this addiction to any other substance abuse and we’d probably be tagged as a junkie.

I’m in no way immune to the charm of such an hollow advertised life. In fact, I am all the more guilty of the charges levied on me. It’s fun to reflect the addiction and acknowledge the things that are at stake. What got me into such a thought process was a discussion on perspectives.

‘Dude, that’s the image you are portraying’ an observation was made.

I didn’t see a point in a rebuttal. The moment we are on display, we also lose control over what the world makes of us. The simple pleasures of a vicious cycle 😉

So what’s the verdict ? Does it make sense or does this leave me as the guy who cried wolf? I’ve stayed clear of depriviation that’s caused by a digital avatar of the self.

Karthik

Under the same sun

French, German, English, Indian( throw in a few languages there), African, European… the list goes longer and I’m limited by my ability to spot the subtle differences in ethnicity of the world. London , to me, is a wonderful city of sights , sounds, people and life. Commuting in the city is a big part of the life here. It is through such mundane , sober daily toils of a journey, where I’ve come to realize the simplicity of context of my existence. We are, more or less, same under the same sun.

The day started early. I had to find my way to a place where I’ve not travelled before. A friend had called in a favour and I felt obliged to help. This commute took me places. A walk, a bus ride, an over ground rail , an underground tube, a bright sun in the sky, a Friday to appreciate the little things of life, a cup of coffee in hand, a soul that felt rejuvenated from the experience.

I do like to view myself as an observer. I enjoy the state of feeling insignificant in a world filled with people. People who mind their own business, carry out their set of chores , connected and yet disconnected from the world around. This morning was special indeed. A little girl, probably around 4-5 years of age. Could be younger than that. She was a little talkative lady. Innocence had a voice. Beauty had a form. Angels had a face. It was all evident in the little one. She spoke her magic words, she smiled her lovely smile, her mother tried to wash her hands using a mild alcohol rub and the little one played along by not bothering to put up any resistance.

It was a warm fuzzy experience , watching her rub her hands and talk to her mum in a language of her own making. Words spoken. Words that conveyed sincere meanings. Words that needed no translation to transcend the human made boundaries of comprehension or bias. I found myself lost in the moment of sheer bliss. I stood watching the mother and daughter go about their business.

The mother spoke in cuddly cooish French. Ca – Va was all I could comprehend. Ca va , the child acknowledged.

I couldn’t help but reminisce over the nieces and nephews that I’ve had the pleasure of building conversations with. The words have always been similar, the enthusiasm has always been similar, the arguments have always been cute and pointless. There was a sense of familiarity to the whole episode. The angel in that one kid was the ever present angel that I got to see in all the kids that I’ve ever seen.

My undivided attention was soon divided. German this time around. Another mum, another infant. This one was a lot younger than the French little lady. Talkative too. I was surrounded by innocence. I felt relaxed in such a company. The writer in me, the deluded voice in my head , found this to be sigh from the universe that would stand to remind me to embrace the truth. We had the capacity to remain innocent. We all do have the capacity to resist that erosion of moral fibre. We have it in us to remain brave, grounded in principles, surrounded by goodness. Yeah, the writer in me wanted that, Desperately.

The months where I’ve lived in this wonderful city, I’ve seen many cultures. I’ve observed many good people who earn an honest day’s living. The kind of goodness that defies the world plagued by fear. The kind of goodness that reminds all of us the meaning of being human. Mind your business, help those who are in need to be helped, spread the joy through smiles. Face life as it comes. I’d very much like to believe in that version of life.

I’ve also seen violence. Interestingly, in stark comparison to events, it’s not the abundance of violence that overwhelms me. It’s the abundance of love, care and staying human that overshadows the sceptical world of my making. For every act of impolite rudeness, there are ten more that bestow kindness. For every act of deception, there are ten more that remind me the value of honesty. For every sin against the fabric of human, I see a hundred more that sing the gospel of how wonderful it is to be a human.

We are divided by borders, we are divided by beliefs and belief system. There are gods, there are big data data centres, there are folks who believe in either options as the one that would take us to sublime salvation. There is hate and there is love. These two are not engaged in an eternal conflict. Ironically, they both exist. They both are in place and they do leave us with the choice to rest our faith in either of them.

As far as the day is concerned, I feel happy knowing that we are born innocent, we are nurtured to the way we are. Which also implies that common sense dictates that , we as a species, are quite capable of staying human. Kids are a wonderful example of how one stays immune to the pollution that corrupts the fabric of staying a human. It would be childish to say that we can learn a lot from the kids. It would be unwise to discount the simpler truth that kids do lead a simpler , easier life. Not because they have nothing else to do, or strings that don’t mandate their motives. It’s because they have a simpler understanding of the world around. They do what they have to, they learn, adapt and are yet to see the world through filters of bias , fears, insecurities and prejudice.

I think it’s not a stretch to assume that there would come a day, where we’d feel saturated by pointlessness to ideologies of faith, text, cultures that don’t hold water given the context of life. I’d be more than happy should that happen in my lifetime. But it’s coming . It’s inevitable. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

The innocence is proof enough that the future is safe. After all, aren’t we all the same under the same sun!

Karthik